Federal prosecutors in Minnesota now have until June 22 to file an indictment against three men accused of bombing the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington last year, according to a judge's ruling.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel on Monday granted a joint motion from the government and the men's attorneys to extend the deadline after both parties disclosed last week that the defendants will not likely be brought to Minnesota to face charges until a related prosecution in Illinois is resolved.
Michael Hari, 47; Michael McWhorter, 29; and Joseph Morris, 22, have been charged with arson in Minnesota in connection with the August 2017 bombing and have been in custody in Illinois since their March 13 arrests.
The three men, who allegedly formed a militia dubbed the "White Rabbits 3 Percent Illinois Patriot Freedom Fighters," have also been indicted in Illinois on a charge of possessing a machine gun. All three are from Clarence, Ill., a small community in rural east-central Illinois. McWhorter's 18-year-old stepson, Ellis Mack, is also charged in the Illinois indictment.
Because the men also made a court appearance in Illinois on the criminal charges out of Minnesota, the government faced an April 25 deadline to file an indictment. Noel's order granted a 60-day extension and set a new deadline of June 22. In his order, the judge wrote "that the ends of justice served by granting the parties' joint motion outweigh the best interests of the public and the Defendants in a speedy trial."
The defendants are scheduled to return to federal court in Urbana, Ill., on May 25 for a conference ahead of a June 5 trial date.
Stephen Montemayor • 612-673-1755